AUGUSTA — A program formed by former Gov. Paul LePage has been resurrected.
Working Cars for Working Families is a program intended to buy cars and provide transportation for people on welfare.
It is a $6 million federally funded program but it never got off the ground after LePage signed it into law in 2017.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jackie Farwell said the LePage administration refused to implement the program despite the state law requiring rules to be developed during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
She said the administration of Gov. Janet Mills is following the law by proposing rules and seeking public comments about implementing the program as required.
“It’s to help someone who is working to have a vehicle, or is looking to work to get to work,” said Julie Rabinowitz, director of policy and communication for Maine People Before Politics.
According to Rabinowitz, many of the details have not been solidified.
For example, the costs associated with running the program remain up in the air and there is no guidance as to how much of the money would go to staffing, overhead and administrative costs
Rabinowitz said for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19 and unemployment rates, the specifics need to be ironed out before it can start.
“In this case, the timing is not right, we believe the timing is not right, to roll this program out, especially in the way that it’s drafted.
Farwell said the next proposal from the department will have an expected start date of fall 2020.
As it stands, however, Working Cars for Working Families is set to expire in 2022.